5 Reasons to Sell on Etsy

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If you’re a creative of any kind, starting an Etsy shop has probably crossed your mind. I have heard of many people stepping away from Etsy after the recent increase in fees, and to me it just seems like all the more reason to join right now. Less competition on an ever growing platform? Yes please.

While completely custom work isn’t the easiest thing to sell on Etsy, we use Etsy to sell samples, and get people interested in our products. I’m not saying the set up that we have is the best ever, but it’s been really successful for us. All the samples that I have online are listed for the price per invitation if someone were to order—this makes it transparent and easy for potential customers and us. I know some people don’t want to spend $12 on a sample, so we often run sample sales and send promotions to people who “favorite” our products.

For all my custom invitation friends: You CAN sell custom, one of a kind work on Etsy and be super successful. Personally, we keep all the payments on Etsy (you can't tell people on Etsy to order off of Etsy), but put everyone in Dubsado like we would for any other order.

I know that Etsy might not be the best platform for everyone, but here are 5 reasons why I love it and why you should too!

1. It’s Easy to Get Started

Etsy is where I started my business because it has really low barriers to entry. There’s no cost up front, in fact, they give you 40 free listings if you sign up from a friend (see link at the bottom if you want to get started!). When starting a business, I wanted to keep things as cheap (or free) as possible until the orders starting coming in. Of course Etsy charges you fees, but they take that out of the sale, making it really easy for you.

Unlike Shopify, Squarespace, and other online platforms, there is no monthly fee for joining Etsy. Etsy recently introduced a monthly program where you get more perks if you pay the $10/month, but it’s not required.

2. Etsy has a Built in Audience

Easily the best part about Etsy is that you open your shop with an audience. People are already on the platform, ready to buy, and searching for what you’re selling.

According to a DRM,  Etsy had 35.8 Million active buyers. Holy. Crap. When you join Etsy, you join a network of 54 million people, with 35 million being active users. In 2017, the gross Etsy merchandise sales were 3.25 BILLION dollars.

Many people that buy on Etsy, buy on Etsy more than once.

3. You Reach People you Wouldn’t Normally Reach

Unlike a website, you don’t have to stress about the SEO and getting found. As long as you do a little research and set up your shop correctly, you’ll be showing up in Etsy searches left and right.  Etsy makes it really easy for you with tags and product specifications, to where adding products is pretty self explanatory. As long as you fill out the sections well, you’re going to get found.

To date, I have 634,469 views, 40% of which are from Etsy searches. That’s over 253,000 views from people on the Etsy app or website. Something to note as well, the google searches that make up about 8% of the other views, are somewhat made of Etsy shopping ads--These are free advertisements that Etsy does on your behalf. The rest of the views? They come mostly from Pinterest. If you know me you know I’m all about that Pinterest life.

Our best year ever on Etsy was 2017, and that year I averaged 727 views per day, resulting in our first 6 figure year. 6 figures. On Etsy alone. It’s totally a thing you guys, and I’m not the only one doing it.

4. People Trust Etsy

Some people prefer Etsy over my personal website. I get that! When a buyer chooses to order something on Etsy, they have rights. They know that Etsy will, to some extent, protect them. Even if it’s opening a claim or filing a report, if something goes wrong, people know there is someone they can turn to. The same cannot be said for random websites.

When someone visits an Etsy shop, they can see 1000 other people have previously ordered, left reviews, and favorited that shop’s products. This gives potential customers confidence in ordering, knowing that it has been a success time and time before.

When you go to someone’s homemade website with “testimonials,” there’s no way to validate this. People tend to trust these sites less.

Does that mean you shouldn’t have a website? Hell no. But there are definitely loyal Etsy fans who have straight up told me, “I prefer to order on Etsy,” and that’s a.o.k. with me. People just trust Etsy.

5. Etsy is Constantly Updating the Platform for Sellers

During the course of owning CZ Invitations, LLC, I’ve had a lot of feelings about Etsy. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with it. I love that it has helped me grow my business to be more than a home office side hustle. I hate that every sale I make they take over 10% of my money.

For a $20 item for sale, here is the breakdown on fees:
- $0.20 to list an item
- $1 (5% Etsy fee)
- $0.70 (3% processing fee)
- $0.25 Etsy Checkout Processing fee
= $17.85
=
10.75%

Of course, I know that every fee is worth it, fueling the platform, ads, updates, and so much more. You can always adjust your pricing to accommodate those fees.

In the past couple of years, Etsy has made incredible changes and I am thrilled with the new CEO. He was hired in 2017, and made the changes that shop owners have been begging for. Before 2017, I can’t think of any major updates that were made, and since, they have added a lot of assets for shop owners like bulk editing, easy to add shop policies, Etsy Updates (a feature to update your followers with pictures, similar to instagram), and so much more. They have updated the integrations that are compatible with Etsy, and while I don’t use many of them, it’s amazing how easy they have made it for their shop owners. Etsy also added features where you can automatically message people who favorite something or if they leave something in their cart. Of course those are paid features, but awesome nonetheless.

PLUS, they’ve started doing a ton of advertising that is free for shop owners. I have seen my products on a blog and on instagram thanks to Etsy ads that were at no cost to me. Sure, that’s what that 10% goes to, but still they don’t HAVE to do this, and they definitely didn’t used to. They’ve also started doing their own advertising with things like TV commercials.

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Etsy-ad

Examples of Etsy ads with my invitations!

So while I know that Etsy might not be for everyone, it’s a great starting point. The 35 million buyers will have confidence in you because you’re on a trusted platform. It’s a great place to dip your toes in the water of owning your own business, and see if it’s even right for you.

If you’re looking for a side hustle or a part time thing to see if you even like it, Etsy is a great jumping off point. If you’re interested in getting started, you can click here to sign up using my code and get 40 free listings!